US orders its embassy staff to leave Venezuela

With Venezuela convulsed by crisis, Trump's hawks take dramatic turn
Vladimir Putin offers support to embattled Venezuelan president

26 January, 2019

Guaido's declaration takes Venezuela into uncharted territory, with the possibility of the opposition now running a parallel government recognised overseas as legitimate but without control over state functions.

Here's what you need to know.

Rubio led a delegation of Florida lawmakers to discuss Venezuela with Trump on Tuesday, although an aide said Trump had decided before the meeting to recognize Guaido.

Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro reacts with National Electoral Council (CNE) President Tibisay Lucena during a ceremony to mark the opening of the judicial year at the Supreme Court of Justice (TSJ), in Caracas, Venezuela, January 24, 2019.

Normally, it's pretty clear who the President of a country is.

He escalated his campaign Wednesday by declaring that the constitution gives him, as president of the congress, the authority to take over as interim president and form a transitional government until he calls new elections.

Guaido's political mentor, Leopoldo Lopez, was arrested in 2014, one of dozens of opposition activists and leaders the government jailed for seeking to overthrow Maduro through violent street demonstrations in 2014 and 2017.

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan offered support for Maduro too. "And how would the existing United States president react?"

The dictator is still recognized as Venezuela's president by the nations of Russia, China, Iran, Syria, Cuba, and Turkey.

The countries, which supported the development, called for a coup against Venezuela's elected president, Nicolas Maduro, even before Guaido made his move, Correa said, adding that it was nothing but a push for a regime change.

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While Canada and others have supported Guaido, Venezuela's top military brass pledged their support for Maduro on Thursday, delivering vows of loyalty before rows of green-uniformed officers on state television.

"The people of Venezuela have courageously spoken out against Maduro and his regime and demanded freedom and the rule of law", Trump said in a statement.

Did this come as a surprise?

Venezuela's powerful military high command threw its weight behind President Nicolas Maduro on Thursday as opposition leader Juan Guaido pressed a direct challenge to his authority with the backing of the United States and key Latin American allies.

Facing sanctions and worldwide pressure, Venezuela is increasingly turning to Turkey as a partner in the Middle East.

Does anyone else agree with Donald Trump?

Maduro has presided over growing economic chaos in once wealthy Venezuela.

Venezuela is in South America and has a population of 31.5 million. "I think the military should choose the right side of history".

This isn't the first time the U.S. has inserted itself into Latin American politics.

In a video earlier this week, Guaido said the constitution requires the military to disavow Maduro after his May 2018 re-election, which was widely condemned by the global community because his main opponents were banned from running. They don't have friends or loyalties. But the distances involved have made the conventional wisdom here that Russian Federation is unlikely to provide direct military support to Maduro's government to avert a U.S. military intervention. Their departure came after Maduro broke off relations with Washington and ordered the US personnel out.

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